The One Biggest Red Flag When Choosing an SEO Agency

Choosing an SEO Agency can be difficult, especially because there are so many agencies out there that give the industry a bad name. An ethical agency uses SEO techniques that are accepted and advised by search engines such as Google. Agencies using spammy techniques such as over optimising websites could put your business at risk of being penalised by Google. With this in mind, when choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to look out for certain warning signs… Nobody Should Promise Position #1 on Google You should not trust an SEO agency that promises to get you to “position 1″ of Google. Google’s SEO Guidelines state that “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” As this is coming directly from Google, it is strongly advised that you do not choose an agency that claims they can achieve this! Some agencies might promise to get you to the top of Google in a short amount of time. Improving visibility in search results will take time, as there are a lot of different factors that are taken into account by search engines, and there is no way of guaranteeing results in any given time period. Search engine results are ambiguous. When searching a query at different locations the results can change, and this should be made clear by any respectable agency. Users with Google accounts will also get personalised results. Appearing first in a search engine does not reflect the overall performance of a business’s success online. Factors such as conversions and ROI are more important than rankings. If the traffic generated from Google isn’t converting into leads or... read more

The State of Firefox OS, What’s In Store for 2015?

2014 has been a roller-coaster year for Mozilla, starting with the backlash at co-founder Brendan Eich after becoming CEO. Following this was the implementation of video streaming DRM in Firefox. Last but not least, was the switch to Yahoo as the default search engine for Firefox after the deal with Google ended. What might look like a big mess on the outside, is in fact a well planned strategy to leave space for Firefox OS, Mozilla’s mobile operating system to disrupt the mobile duopoly and penetrate the low-end market. Firefox OS (also known as ‘Boot to Gecko’) is a Linux kernel-based open-source operating system completely based on open web technologies. Since its launch in 2013, Firefox OS devices have received mixed reviews, but many forget that most Firefox OS devices weren’t designed to compete with their often 4x as expensive counterparts. Intex Cloud FX is the best example with a price tag of $33. As mentioned by many, Firefox OS empowers feature-phone users to make the switch to smartphones, while not compromising their budget. Mozilla kept this promise by launching several devices in Asia under the $40 price tag, proving that there is still an unexplored market left in the low-end range. Another option is Android One, but there are many for whom $100 is still too expensive. Let’s have a look at some of the milestones of the Firefox OS adventure in 2014. Firefox OS is currently available in following countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macedonia,Montenegro, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines,... read more

5 key logo trends and what you can learn from them

Niall O’Loughlin of 99designs shares some important lessons from the history of logo design. Some organisations stumbled across the perfect logo for their brand and barely changed it while others found the need to make alterations to change with the tastes of their target audiences. The beginning of simplicity (1930s-1940s) The introduction of colour printing and the rise of the advertising industry saw an explosion in logo design as companies allowed their imaginations to run wild. It was common for brands to freely utilise heraldic and agricultural symbols to advertise any product. However, as the lifestyles of the general public became more complex, it was necessary for brands to embrace simpler designs in order to make their logos more recognisable in a faster moving world. Major brands such as Caterpillar, Kodak, IBM, Pepsi and VW all changed their logos with serif face font becoming the most popular choice. The new logos were not ‘better’ than their predecessors. Indeed, in pure art terms, the early logos were probably superior. But the simpler designs allowed brands to become better known and that is of course the whole point of logo design. Enter sans serif (1950s-1960s) A number of large brands decided that serif was passé and marketed themselves as being more ‘futuristic’ by embracing sans serif in their logo designs. In the 1950s, Lego and Shell were among the first to transition to a simpler sans serif logo and were followed in the 1960s by Pepsi, Chevy, Wal-Mart, Caterpillar and others. As was the case with the first change, sans serif logos were in no way superior to their serif counterparts... read more

How to make your app icons look cleaner

Designer Michael Flarup explains how alpha transparency has made creating app icons difficult, and offers a solution. A common mistake designers make when creating and bundling iOS app icons is in the use of transparency. On iOS, all the icons are presented as squares with rounded corners (affectionately called ‘squircles’). However, this rounding is done programmatically by Apple, when the icons are uploaded – not by the designer. This detail escapes many people when they first try their hand designing an app icon. Alpha transparency is not supported in icons for iOS – designers are required to deliver a square PNG file. If you bundle and upload an icon with transparency through iTunes connect, the transparent areas are replaced with solid black. Commonly, the designer’s pre-rounded corners are turned black, then programmatically rounded by Apple. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that most tools and templates that enable this sort of rounding are ever so slightly inaccurate, due to the notorious difficulty of reproducing the squircle. This often leads to small black fragments on the rounded
 edges of the icon, where the designer’s pre-rounded mask clashes with the black pixels Apple has introduced. If you look closely on light backgrounds, you’ll see a surprising number of icons – even from large publishers – that suffer from this issue. So remember: always deliver full square PNG files when designing iOS app icons. The option to export icons with rounded corners in popular templates is often intended for use on promotional material, such as on websites and email marketing. Never pre-round an icon before you submit your... read more
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